Early life
Alexandre Dumas was born in Villers-Cotterêts in the department of Aisne, in Picardy, France.
Dumas' paternal grandparents were Marquis Alexandre-Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie, a French nobleman and Général commissaire in the Artillery in the colony of Saint-Domingue — now Haiti — and Marie-Cesette Dumas, an Afro-Caribbean Creole of mixed French and African ancestry. Their son, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, married Marie-Louise Élisabeth Labouret, the daughter of an innkeeper. Thomas-Alexandre, then a general in Napoleon's army, fell out of favor and the family was impoverished when Dumas was born.
Thomas-Alexandre Dumas died in 1806, when his son was still an infant. His widow was unable to provide her son with much of an education, but Dumas read everything he could obtain. His mother's stories of his father's bravery during the years of Napoleon I of France inspired Dumas' vivid imagination for adventure. Although poor, the family had their father's distinguished reputation and aristocratic position. In 1822, after the restoration of the monarchy, twenty-year-old Alexandre Dumas moved to Paris, where he worked at the Palais Royal in the office of duc d'Orléans (Louis Philippe).  Writer
While in Paris, Dumas began writing for magazines and plays for the theater. His first play, Henry III and His Court, was produced in 1829, and was met with acclaim. The next year his second play, Christine, was equally popular, and he was financially able to work full time on writing. In 1830 he participated in the Revolution which ousted Charles X, and which replaced him on the throne with Dumas' former employer, the Duc d'Orléans, who would rule as Louis-Philippe, the Citizen King. Until the mid-1830s life in France remained unsettled, with sporadic riots by disgruntled Republicans and impoverished urban workers seeking change. As life slowly returned to normal, the nation began to industrialize, and with an improving economy -- combined with the end of press censorship -- the times were very rewarding for the skills of Alexandre Dumas.
After writing more successful plays, he turned his efforts to novels. Although attracted to an extravagant lifestyle, and always spending more than he earned, Dumas proved to be an astute marketer. Since newspapers wanted many serial novels, in 1838 Dumas rewrote one of his plays to create his first serial novel, titled Le Capitaine Paul, which led to his forming a production studio that turned out hundreds of stories, all subject to his personal input and direction.
From 1839 to 1841 Dumas, with the assistance of several friends, compiled Celebrated Crimes, an eight-volume collection of essays on famous criminals and crimes from European history, including essays on Beatrice Cenci; Martin Guerre; Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia; and more recent incidents, including the cases of executed alleged murderers Karl Ludwig Sand and Antoine François Desrues.
Dumas also collaborated with his fencing master Augustin Grisier in his 1840 novel, The Fencing Master. The story is written to be Grisier's narrated account of how he came to witness the events of the Decembrist revolt in Russia. This novel was eventually banned in Russia by Czar Nicholas I, causing Dumas to be forbidden to visit Russia until after the czar's death. Grisier is also mentioned with great respect in both The Count of Monte Cristo and The Corsican Brothers, as well as in Dumas' memoirs.
On 1 February 1840 he married actress Ida Ferrier (born Marguerite-Joséphine Ferrand) (1811—1859) but continued...